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Help identifying decoration on Heianjo Tsuba

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Hello to everybody


I am trying to identify the decorations on this Heianjo (or at least this is my guess at the moment)  tsuba:




For educational purposes I am also trying to do that associating it with the Japanese name including kanji.

I have to admit that I am rather unsuccessful so far. My guesses are:

Left image:       

  • North:  No idea of the meaning. Maybe no meaning at all

  • East:  Some kind of implement?

  •  South: Raven (Karasu - 鴉) close to a river?

  •  West: Chrysanthemum (Kiku - ?) floating on a river

Right image       

  • North: Large and small stripes. Looks lile the hirumaki (蛭巻) pattern found on saya (for example on the Toyotomi Hideyoshi daisho at Tokyo national museum -link ) but no idea of the meaning

  • East: The four leaves top image looks like Paulownia (kiri - 桐) but it is not clear

  • South: Waves from the blue ocean (青海波 - Seigaiwa (せいがいは)) or a wave pattern

  • West: Some kind of implement


Any help is appreciated


Best Regards


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Hi Luca, really a wonderful piece!
I'm sorry I'm unable to offer help on subjects depicted. I wish just to point out a tsuba of similar kind attributed to Ōnin by an old NBTHK paper.


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IMHO the pattern on the right hand side of the ura show Yuki Mochi Sasa, snowflake on bamboo, a traditional motif in a stylised way. Some examples:


Yuki_mochi_Sasa-mon.png.2f37005ee802fd26ebf2e414d6aea5d1.png        Mon_Sasa-yuki-mochi.jpg.653a25a622c07080e82f3a5d501fbb82.jpg





The bird in the lower part of the omote could also be a plover (chidori 千鳥 ) because of the connection with a stream or shore.




Anyway, a very interesting Tsuba!



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Thank you all for your contributions


Mauro, if we have a Onin attribution, even though on an old paper, who am I to disagree? I have seen similar pieces attributed to Heianjo and Yoshiro... 

Heianjo on Tanoshi Shinshu Zogan Tsuba by Otani number 85 and as Yoshiro here.


Florian, I like the chidori idea, more fitting than the raven one!




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I think there is a slight relation to the themes. Mauro's paperwork notes the theme as "drying nets and beach" (干網浦浜). The image on the right side of Mauro's tsuba clearly shows the nets hung up to dry. They look a bit like a tent, which is a similar shape seen on the north quadrant of Luca's tsuba, which also fits in with the plover (千鳥) on the south quadrant. For a different treatment on plover and drying nets, see the tsuba below



I can't figure out what the other motifs are, but I'm wondering if the shapes on the east/west are sand dunes. 

On the opposite side I agree with the tsuzumi and sasa, but the connection eludes me. I was thinking summer/winter (drying nets for summer, and sasa for winter on the opposite side) but I don't know what to make of the tsuzumi. 


The cartwheel motif also seems to be repeated. There has to be an underlying, connecting theme.

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